"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Joint Closing Remarks for the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (By Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner)

[Place] Washington, DC
[Date] May 10, 2011
[Source] U.S. Department of State
[Full text]

SECRETARY GEITHNER: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. Let me outline the highlights of our discussions on the economic side.

We had a very comprehensive discussion about a full range of economic issues between us and facing the global economy. As always, we reviewed the major risk and challenges to our – to growth domestically in China and the United States, and we talked about the major risks and challenges on the global economic front. We talked about the investment climate in both countries. We talked about energy policy, financial reform – very comprehensive discussions. And we benefited on the U.S. and on the Chinese side from an exceptionally talented and very senior delegation of financial exports – experts, members of the cabinet, regulators, et cetera. And that’s very important.

Now, our three key objectives on the U.S. side were: first, to encourage the ongoing transformation of the Chinese economy away from its export-dependent growth model of the past to a more balanced growth strategy led by domestic demand; to encourage China to level the competitive playing field between U.S. and Chinese companies, both in China and around the world; and to strengthen our engagement with China on financial reform issues in both countries.

And we have made very, very significant progress in our economic relationship over the past two years. Our exports to China reached $110 billion last year and are growing about 50 percent faster than our exports to the rest of the world. And those exports are all the things Americans create and build – from agriculture, all sectors of manufacturing, services, and advanced technology – and they support hundreds of thousands of jobs across the United States.

Now, overall, we are seeing very promising shifts in the direction of Chinese economic policy. First on the exchange rate, since last June, as you know, the Chinese currency, the renminbi, has appreciated against the dollar by more than 5 percent, and at an annual rate of about 10 percent when you take into account the fact that Chinese inflation is significantly faster than that in the United States.

We hope that China moves to allow the exchange rate to appreciate more rapidly and more broadly against the currencies of all its trading partners. And this adjustment, of course, is critical not just to China’s ongoing efforts to contain inflationary pressures and to manage the risks that capital inflows bring to credit and asset markets, but also to encourage this broad shift to a growth strategy led by domestic demand.

China has outlined in its Five-Year Plan a comprehensive set of reforms, again, to shift its growth strategy away from one relying on exports to domestic demand. China has joined a broad commitment with other countries in the G-20 to put in place mechanisms to reduce the risk that we see once again the emergence of large, external imbalances that could threaten future financial stability and future economic growth.

This process is going to take time, and of course, it’s going to require a sustained effort of reform. But of course, it’s essential to the future health of the global economy and the trajectory of future growth in China. Again, we’re seeing progress here, too. If you just step back from and look, China’s current account surplus as a percent of GDP peaked at about 10 percent before the crisis. It’s now around 5 percent, and of course, we’d like to see that progress sustained.

This brings me to the third area, the third area of focus in our discussions, which is how to create a more level playing field. In our meetings over the last few days, we’ve seen some very important steps towards that goal, and let me just review a few of them. First, China committed to making long-term improvements in its high-level protection of intellectual property rights and enforcement regime to strengthen the inspection of government software and use at all levels of government. And this will help protect U.S. innovators as well as Chinese innovators in all industries, not just in software. And I think that’s very important.

China also confirmed that it will no longer employ government procurement preferences for indigenous innovation products at any level of government. And this is important to make sure, of course, that U.S. technology, U.S. firms, can compete fairly for business opportunities in China.

China has committed to increased transparency, requiring government authorities to publish regulations at least 30 days in advance, so again, that U.S. firms, all foreign firms, have the chance to see those informations – see those regulations in draft and they have the opportunity for input just as their Chinese counterparts do.

China and the United States, recognizing the importance of transparency and fairness in export credit policies, have agreed to undertake discussions on export – on the terms of our respective export credit policies. And this is important, of course, because China, by some measures, is the largest provider of export credit on – in the world.

And finally, we’ve been discussing with the Chinese authorities the important objective of how to make sure that companies in China that compete with state-owned enterprises are not put at a broader disadvantage.

The final focus of our discussions on the economic side was China’s ongoing financial reforms to create a more open, more flexible, more dynamic, more developed financial system. And these reforms, which are designed to increase the returns to savers, to further develop China’s equity and bond markets, and to expand opportunities for foreign financial institutions in China are very important and very promising, not just, of course, in expanding opportunities for U.S. institutions but also reinforcing this broad shift in strategy by the Chinese Government towards a growth strategy led by domestic demand.

Now, when President Hu visited Washington in January, President Obama described the evolution of our relationship as – quote – “a healthy competition that spurs both countries to innovate and become even more competitive.” And of course, just as China faces significant economic challenges at home, we have our challenges in the United States, too. And we are working very hard not just to repair the damage caused by this financial crisis, but to make sure that as we restore fiscal sustainability, as we return to living within our means as a country, we’re making sure we preserve the capacity to invest in things that are going to be critical to the future strength of the American economy. And I can say, based on the strength of our conversations and the strength of this emerging relationship, that this economic relationship with China is – will continue to grow, continue to deepen, and continue to provide tremendous opportunities for both nations. And you see today concrete, tangible signs of progress on both sides that underscore that commitment of both our presidents.

In conclusion, I just want to end where Secretary Clinton began, which is to thank the delegations on both sides, both the American and Chinese participants in these discussions. They brought a directness and candor and, frankly, greater openness than we’ve seen in the last two years, and I think that is very welcome. And I want to express my personal gratitude to Vice Premier Wang for his leadership in these discussions, and to compliment him for the very substantial changes he’s already been able to bring about. Thank you very much.